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The Importance of the first draft and my top five podcasts

I am currently illustrating a huge book of Fairy Tales, nine stories in total. It's almost as much work as illustrating nine individual picture books. It is something I have always wanted to do, and therefore I have to fight a pressure for this to be perfect. As soon as I feel pressure to do an extra specially good job, I freeze up and the work suffers. So I am being practical and just getting on with it. JUST GETTING ON is half the battle. Nine Fairy Tales is a huge mountain to climb, but I have to start somewhere and KEEP GOING.

helenstephens-fairytales.jpg

 

Slowly, slowly they are taking shape... I make my way through step by step and even if I am not happy with bits and pieces I keep going. Once I have the first set of roughs done, I have something to work with, I can fine tune things and work out how to fix the problem pages later. It has made me remember again, that starting is the most important part. Especially true if you are writing or illustrating your first book. You have no idea where it is going, or if it will be good, or if anyone will read it. But get that first draft on paper, then you have something to work with.


Whilst I illustrate I often listen to podcasts on my earphones. I thought you might like to know my current faves:

1. The Adam Buxton podcast, especially this episode where Louis Theroux sings 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie'.
2. Your Dreams My Nightmares 'Internet Famous'. It is long and could do with some editing, but I enjoyed the part about Instagram and how copying is viewed amongst illustrators these days.
3. I went through a huge This American Life phase, and overdid it I think. But if you haven't been there yet I thoroughly recommend it. One of my favourites is this one about car salesmen, called Cars, probably because my dad was a cars salesman when I was a child.
4. Elizabeth Gilbert Magic Lessons
5. Death in Ice Valley

So many more I could tell you about, I will get to those soon. Let me know if you have any favourites I should listen to.